Lyrics from the Chinese CD
Frank Bayford reviews a CD of Carey Blyton’s songs
Modus Music News no 12, December 2002
I have been waiting a long time for this record. I heard Carey Blyton’s Lyrics from the Chinese and Lachrymae—In Memoriam John Dowland some years ago at a concert in Enfield, and ever since I have hoped that one day they would be worthily recorded. This marvellous disc more than realises my wildest expectations. Ian Partridge, whose artistry and beauty of voice seems to be as fine as ever, is the ideal soloist in these imaginative pieces; the Britten Sinfonia and Nicholas Cleobury give him wonderful support and they come into their own in the purely instrumental interludes.
I have no doubt that these two song-cycles for voice and strings are Carey’s masterpieces. They have a magic about them that glows from every bar and the word settings truly illuminate the poems.
They are early works, written when the composer was in his twenties, but already show an enviable invention and maturity. Other pieces on the disc are the wistful Two Pensive Songs and The Poetry of Dress, which reveals the influence of the English ayre and the composer’s discovery of Warlock’s music. Four late pieces complete the disc, of which Lyrics from the East deserves an especial mention. These were written in 2000 for Ian and Jennifer Partridge, who perform them here. The Partridges interpret them beautifully, as they do the other pieces. This CD deserves to be heard and played, for it contains the very best music of a fine composer.